KANSAS CITY, Mo.— The Kansas City Royals selected TCU left-hander Brandon Finnegan with their first-round pick in Major League Baseball’s first-year player draft Thursday night.
“I couldn’t be happier to get Brandon, a left-handed pitcher with plus stuff,” Royals director of scouting Lonnie Goldberg said. “We’re very surprised that he was there when we picked.”
Scouts are divided on whether Finnegan projects as a starter or reliever. The 5-foot-11 junior dealt with a stiff shoulder this past season, raising concerns about his durability. Finnegan led the Horned Frogs in strikeouts the last two seasons.
Finnegan’s fastball has been clocked in the upper 90s, though it tends to sit between 90 and 95 mph. He also has a curveball and slider that are both developing.
The Royals chose him with the 17th overall pick. The club also had the No. 28 pick Thursday night as compensation for losing Ervin Santana in free agency; the No. 40 pick in the competitive balance portion of the draft; and the No. 56 pick in the second round.
A 2011 graduate of Southwest High School in Fort Worth, Finnegan was selected by the Texas Rangers in the 45th round of the June Free Agent Draft that year, but opted to pitch at TCU.